PM May seeks to discuss her Brexit stance with Trump, who says it could sink trade deal with US
“She’s looking forward to sitting down with the president and talking him through the white paper,” the spokesman for UK Prime Minister Theresa May told Reuters on Friday when asked about US President Donald Trump’s threats he made in an interview with the Sun newspaper.
The interview, published on Thursday, revolves around May’s post-Brexit negotiations with Brussels, in which she is said to seek to keep the customs borders open with the EU by sticking to common rules on goods and agricultural products. In the interview, Trump pledged to walk away from a major US-UK trade deal and launched a personal assault on May.
“If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal,” the president warned. “If they do that, then their trade deal with the US will probably not be made.”
On the topic of May’s EU exit negotiations, Trump claimed she ignored his advice on how to conduct the Brexit talks. “I would have done it much differently. I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me.”
Trump went as far as to question whether May’s Brexit plan actually reflects the main idea of the 2016 referendum result: “The deal she is striking [with the EU] is a much different deal than the one the people voted on. It was not the deal that was in the referendum… So a lot of people don’t like it.”
Trump, however, called her “a very good person,” and dismissed a Washington Post report that he regards the prime minister as “a bossy schoolteacher.”
“No, no, no, no. I never said anything bad about her,” Trump said. “That is fake news. I think she is a nice person. I get along with her very nicely. The Washington Post is totally fake. They are just a lobbyist for Amazon.”
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday during the tense NATO summit, Trump cast doubt again on May’s post-Brexit tactics. Downing Street was quick to respond: “We are having good discussions with countries we would aim to sign trade deals with, including the US, as I will discuss with President Trump when he arrives in the UK on Thursday.
“Only our Brexit deal for Britain truly respects the will of the British people. And, as Prime Minister, it is the Brexit I am determined to deliver,” the statement said.
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